Sometimes you have to fight through darkness to get to the light

Our story so far: In the mechanicals phase of renovating the old Methodist church into a home, we employed the services of an electrician. But he required direction in order to do his work.

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From an interior decorating standpoint, Tyler and I could agree on many things. I approved of his choice of the shape he chose for the balcony, and he approved of my ideas for a tile rug in front of the kitchen sink. We chose our great room sectional, the kitchen cabinets and the bathroom layout together, so we were simpatico.

The one thing we could not agree on was lighting.

It wasn’t even light fixtures we argued about—it was the very existence of lighting!

Tyler liked subdued, indirect lighting in all circumstances.

I liked direct, high-wattage lighting in most circumstances.

I attributed this to our eye color. He had blue eyes, and mine were brown. I thought his eyes let in more light than mine. But our preferences also might have been related to our leisure habits. He liked to nap. I liked to read. These activities required different kinds of lighting.

In any case, we needed to find ways around this profoundly different lighting philosophy. In many cases, we chose dimmable lights. In other cases, I simply lost the battle.

The sanctuary lighting, for example. I would have installed recessed can lights throughout. Instead, I got none.

As easy as it was to choose an electrician, our differing lighting styles made it hard to give him direction. This resulted in our first real fight about the church. I couldn’t believe I had to describe exactly how many and where the can lights in the kitchen would be. And Tyler couldn’t believe I didn’t realize this.

I hated the pressure of these decisions. I had to think about how we would be using each room, what appliances we’d use, how I was going to situate the furniture (and the lamps) and whether the ceiling light would hug the ceiling or be a pendant.

mudroom Electrical
Here’s one of the maps I created to guide our electrical choices.

After negotiating with Tyler, I ended up creating electrical maps of every room. I was the only one who consulted them, but at least I could direct the electrician (who wrote notes in Sharpie pen on the wall studs).

 

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Tomorrow: First impressions matter. Read about it here.

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